Bank lending to SMEs, retail sector to increase in 2015 -Heritage Bank
Banks lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the retail sector has been projected to increase in 2015, Heritage Bank said on Thursday in Lagos.
Mr Tony Madojemu, a Director of the bank, made this known while speaking at a forum organised by the Business Networking International (BNI) to mark its International Networking Week.
“The retail sector was booming and some of the ‘big firms’ are beginning to dictate unnecessarily to the banks; so, attention is shifting from them to these sectors.
“Even though the banking sector outlook for 2015, according to Fitch, tells us that banking may not fair favourably this year, it could still favour some small business owners.
“So, banks are beginning to seek new opportunities to increase profitability and guard against collapse by seeking ways to deal with only well-structured SMEs; so, I see this as good news.
“The only challenge is how small businesses can manage their systematic and operational risks in order to keep a well-structured business that would attract banks to lend them money.
“Knowing well that access to finance is one of the major challenges of our SMEs today, we must also point out that business owners should brace up their competence if they must access loans.
“Most businesses are guilty of poor accounts presentation, lack of business plans, legal backings and structure, such businesses might not expect to get loans,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Mr Chimaobi Agwu, National Director, BNI Nigeria, noted that small businesses needed networking and referrals to cushion the cost of advertising their business.
He said the BNI was meant to supply network marketing services and referrals that could help small businesses grow and increase their market share.
“In 2014, we had 6.2 billion referrals all over the world worth 8.6 billion dollars; BNI is looking at generating 15 billion dollars worth of referrals all over the world.
“In Nigeria, in 2014, we did referrals worth N300 million and this year, we plan to generate referrals worth N1.5 billion worth for businesses in 2015.
“The way the referrals work is that it also provides more employment for the masses, as much as 5000 in about 100 organisations every month, you can see how it generates employment,” he said.
He urged small businesses to see networking and their customers as one of the assets of their businesses.
NAN reports that a recent research states that the retail sector generated N205.4 billion in the last two years with the advent of mega malls, internet banking, online shopping, and Point of Sales (POS).